The Weekend before Adapt
On Thursday I caught a ride up to Calgary where I flew out to Montreal arriving a few days early to explore and be a tourist for a while. I got in Friday morning at 7:30 and had to make my way up to the place I was staying. Not speaking French I was worried it would be difficult to find my way and communicate with people; however that was never an issue as everyone spoke English. Friday during the day I got settled in and took a tour of downtown and Mount Royal. On Saturday I spent the day in Old Montreal taking pictures like crazy for future textures and reference. I stayed during the night to grab some nice night shots as all of Old Montreal is lit up at night and super busy. It helped that the weather was fantastic. Sunday was spent at Mount Royal taking in the ĎTam Tamsí (A drumming session in the park) which made me feel at home.
On Monday I arrived at the AMC Pepsi Forum early around 12:00 to pick up my registration however they werenít ready yet. Having already spent the last 3 days exploring Montreal there wasnít much for me to do. I asked if I could help out and ended up volunteering during the day to help get registrations out to people since it was probably going to be the busiest day for that. It was pretty nice to volunteer for a little bit and got to meet a lot of people before the event even started. At 5:00 the VIP cocktail started and at 7:00 Andreas Deja from Disney kicked things off with his keynote showcasing his work over the years and a lot of awesome art from behind the scenes at Disney.
I kicked off Tuesday by visiting Adam Ross and Eric Schall talk about printing out digital models and their work for McFarlane Toys. Getting a real model of one of my digital creations would be awesome and after seeing their presentation I at least know how to prepare a model to send it off to print. Afterwards I took in Dan Staton and Ji Ye about their work at Massive Black Shanghai. Dan spoke about all the thought behind outsourcing models and how many concerns and differences between studios there are, while Ji sat quietly and did some awesome Zbrush sculpting. Craig Mullins was next who brought up the concept of contrast and how to control it as well as a more philosophical debate on why we use digital over traditional as well as many great points. I wish he could have talked for even longer. 3 presenters from Disney who are working on the new film Bolt came up with a nice presentation with some good insight to character rigging and working with a hamster. Afterwards the Adapt network event kicked off with a lot of local studios having booths where you could talk with recruiters and show off your portfolio. Met a lot of nice people out there including the guys from Bungie who gave me some great advise, my thanks to Dave and Chris for that.
Taron had the 1st talk of the day with his work flow using Zbrush, Lightwave and messiah. He created a nice scene fairly quickly and I learned a few tips on Zbrush watching him work. I never got the chance to properly introduce myself to Taron even though we kept running into each other and having short little conversations on our way to and from various places. He was always very positive and had such funny remarks about stuff, just a joy to listen too. Jason Manley came up next with a great talk about color and art history. An awesome public speaker I could listen to him for much longer about his views on art and what makes art attractive. Luckily I got that chance with the 2D Master session with Jason, Andrew Jones, Syd Mead, and Craig Mullins all up on stage talking about their views on art, where the industry is headed (Or in Syds case being from the future, where it has been). This was one of my favorite parts of Adapt hearing these four get together and throw out little bits of wisdom in casual conversation. Iíd come back just to hear these four again sound off. Alex Parkinson showed off the work he and the Dreamworks crew did on Kung-Fu Panda next. It was very in depth on how Dreamworks goes about creating their work and on my flight home I got a chance to watch the whole film.
Thursday began with Syd Mead talking about fantasy, again another speaker who I could listen to for a long time. Syd has been a part of the industry long before I was even alive and is just a wealth of knowledge. I was so fortunate to talk with him for 20 minutes 1 on 1 at the Softimage party later in the evening, which was a chance of a lifetime. Next I took in Nick Oroc from A2M about his Photoshop techniques and afterwards I talked with him a little bit about life and the outdoors. One of 2 presenters (Andrew Jones being the other one) who have actually been too my small little town in BC and enjoys the outdoors as much as I do. The 3d Masters talk was next I was hoping this would be as good as the 2d talk however they focused more on animation and business instead of the theory behind art and design of 3d. Afterwards Michal Makarewicz from Pixar showed an awesome presentation about Wall-E, going into detail about the whole process from the very beginning to rendering. When you see how much works goes into making a Pixar film you really come out with a deeper appreciation for it.
I had to leave right after Michal finished so I could make it to the pre-Adapt party that Softimage was throwing at their HQ. I hopped on my bike and pedaled over as fast as I could so I wouldnít show up too late since the party had started 30 minutes before Michal finished. While at Softimage I got a chance to talk with Syd Mead, met many others using Softimage and met with a lot of the team responsible for producing one of the key pieces of software I use. Free drinks and good times were the order of this party and a little later some Street Fighter II action as well. Time went by so fast that I didnít notice a lot of guests had left and I stuck around long enough to go out for dinner with a lot of the Softimage crew. We went to this great Greek restaurant on Prince Arthur Street and the food was excellent. In many restaurants in Montreal you can bring your own bottle of wine, we over indulged on this by taking 2 bags full of wine bottles for dinner. Afterwards we walked over to La Mouche where the official Adapt party was being hosted. We got whisked to the front of the line as ĎVIPsí and had our own booth with even more free drinks setup. The party was great and went all the way to 3:00am with Andrew Jones doing some live painting, and DJís spinning some great music to dance too. I didnít get home until 4:00 and had to get up at 7:00 to make it for the 9:00 morning sessions.
Ouch why am so I tired and my throat is so dry I canít even speak. Oh yeah they party last night. Aaron Sims was supposed to have the 1st demonstration of the day however he couldnít make it so Andrew Jones gave a work shop on how he uses Zbrush in some of his amazing illustrations. Afterwards Andrew did his scheduled session on his painting with music using a modified Wacom tablet. That was a really neat demo listening to Andrew draw. Some really cool technology behind that stuff and made for a great presentation. Steven Stahlberg was after lunch and he basically went over his workshop that he does on CGSociety and what he tries to teach over the workshop. Some interesting thoughts on topology and modeling in general, it was well worth listening too. The Iron Man presentation was next going behind the scenes of ILMís newest film. Afterwards I went home and then went to Swartzís Deli for dinner. I donít think Iíve ever had that much meat on one sandwich in my life before. I was hoping to meet up with jox from the forums for some more DJ action that night; however I took a nap before hand and fell asleep not waking up until 2:00am completely missing Friday night.
The Weekend After
Saturday I flew to Vancouver, where I nearly missed my flight due to getting my time zones mixed up and the departing time completely wrong. Luckily I got dropped off at the airport early; 10 minutes before the flight was supposed to leave! Sunday I was back on the West coast and my brother had a hike scheduled to the summit of the West Lion, North of Vancouver. What a great way to get the legs moving again after almost a 6 hour flight. Tuesday night I met up with a group of people from the Polycount forums, and Wednesday I hitch hiked back to Nelson.
Now after 2 weeks on the road Iím home and feeling more inspired than ever before and looking forward to the next couple of months to see what I can create.